Love Malayalam Movie Review
Khalid Rahman's 'Love' has one of the more inventive opening sequences in recent Malayalam cinema. It involves two characters, whom we initially take for lovers but are husband and wife. The wife, Rajisha Vijayan's Deepthi, learns of a life milestone, and she sends a text about it to her husband. The husband, Shine Tom Chacko's Anoop, does not seem to care as he chooses not to call or text her back. The wife comes home to see her husband enjoying a PlayStation game. The two then have a fit of anger over their relationship, we suppose. Their fight is muted, but their faces tell a story.
Soon the fight reaches a fever pitch. It ends with a drop of blood, which then segues into the arrival of the title card - LOVE - in bold and red. It may be inventive, but sadly, it is also the movie's best stretch.
Rahman's film is about the impact of suppressed angst and anger on our relationships. In a scene that comes later, the husband tries to console his friend with a marital issue. He wants to help his friend, but with his own marriage life starting to crumble, he would rather have the guy out of his life. Then, another friend comes into his house with a handful of secrets of his own. The whole movie occurs in his rooms, and it is about how Anoop handles these situations.
Shine Tom Chacko is good at playing this angry young man type. A large part of Love relies on his skill in portraying a raging man trying to get a grip on things. We see things from his point of view, and his performance is appropriate in that it never makes the character sympathetic or one-note. He tries to make the bizarre turn of events in this film believable, but to little avail. Rajisha Vijayan is saddled with a one-note part, but she also has her moments here. Johnny Anthony has a terrific one-scene turn as Deepthi's father. Sudhi Koppa and Gokulan round off what is probably the shortest ensemble cast in recent Malayalam cinema history.
Ultimately, Love is a writer and director's film. I am an admirer of Khalid Rahman, known for such titles as Unda and Anuraga Karikkin Vellam. Those are two terrific films in terms of writing and directing. But with Love, he seems to have taken a step back, especially as a writer. He asks the audience to make such giant leaps of faith here. He shrouds the film under such layers of mystery and deceit that the movie starts to make very little sense after a point. A lot of things add up just fine, but there are some loose ends. Thankfully, the frantic editing contributes to the film ending in only 90 minutes or so.